All have been getting cash through federal grants from the National Crime Prevention Program but the funding will cease in the next year and some say it will put kids back on the street and into the hands of gangs.
"We are now just getting a handle on what's working, what's not working. Unfortunately, we [won't be able to] go further with it to make it work at 100 per cent," said Lionel Houston, who works with aboriginal teens at Circle of Courage, a prevention and intervention program for aboriginal male youth between the ages of 12 and 17.
It costs about $9,000 to put a teen through the program as opposed to $80,000 a year to keep a prisoner in jail, Houston noted.
The groups have written to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews asking for help and got a boost Thursday from Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz, who said he would go to bat for the programs.
"[The gang situation] is a major problem in Winnipeg; a major problem in the city of Winnipeg," he said.
"I've been saying for years we have a gang problem."
Katz had not heard federal funding to the groups was being cut but said he values what they do and doesn't want to see them fold up.
"This is an issue that, and I can assure you … I'll find out exactly what's happening," he said.
I know why their funding is being cut... because the government has decided to waste money imprisoning more people for longer periods! $10 billion! They need to place more emphasis and invest more money in crime prevention programs that address the root causes of crime, such as gang prevention groups. If they cut funding, they are likely to see an increase in gang activity. Prevention programs like this are what will increase public safety, not imprisoning more people.
So, another case of short term gain (a bit of money saved by cutting programs) over long term pain (cost of prison, the perpetuation of crime and gangs as a viable lifestyle, hundreds or thousands of people hurt by gang activities).
Yeah, really smart.